November 9, 2011

Create a Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II assembled overview
Almost a year ago, I had presented the construction from scratch of an Arca Swiss® compatible Multi Row Panorama Head in my article Create a Multi Row Panorama Head, with different parts from various manufacturers.

The experience gathered during this time, brought up some new requirements.
First, the fixed structure of the vertical rail made it difficult to accommodate in a bag and I'm not really fond of unscrewing and screwing on the spot taking care of alignment.

Second, some limitations of my Economy Nodal/Macro Rail showed up, such as the need to unscrew the clamp in order to remove the index bar, or put a second one on.
So, a few modifications had to be made, that would refine and make the Panorama Head more versatile.

In the meantime my communication with Chris Hejnar of Hejnar Photo, had increased and as he is always open into developing new ideas we came up with a captive quick release clamp variation of his clamps. On the other hand he had also improved and refined his Macro / Nodal slide rails, and his general purpose rails.
All the above added up in coming to a full Hejnar Photo solution for a Multi Row Panorama Head structure, except for the Panorama Clamp rotators... at least not yet.

Hejnar Photo Multi-Row Panorama Rails Set
This set comprises of two 8 inch Rails one for vertical and one for horizontal use, a 6.5 inch Nodal slide Rail, two 1.5 inch Quick Release clamps, one 90 degree Block, two Index Bars, five 1/4"-20 captive screws, one 1/4"-20 flat head screw, five M3 screws, two dowel pins and a set of three Allen Hex keys for the 1/4", M3 and index bar screws respectively.

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II components & tools

Preparing the Vertical Rail

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II components grouped/numbered
The first group of components (A1) F69 Captive Quick Release Clamp, (A2) 90 degree Block, (A3) G10-80 8" Rail, together with (A4) a set of five (5) 1/4"-20 captive screws, assembled together will give a versatile, easily detachable vertical rail.








Hejnar Photo G10-80 rail top
Hejnar Photo G010-80 8" Rail is 1/2" thick with three captive slots, two 1/4"-20 threaded holes between them and a front 1/4"-20 tapped hole. A laser engraved decimal scale from 0 to 18cm runs along one side on the top surface.
Two 1/4"-20 captive screws, need to be inserted in the captive slot near the front hole (in this case will be the bottom hole) for the attachment of the G-103 90 degree block and one 1/4"-20 captive screw, needs to be inserted in the captive slot on the other end (or top in this case) for the attachment of the vertical rotator /panorama clamp.
Hejnar Photo G10-80 rail bottom
On the bottom side, the G010-80 rail has two cross bars which add anti-torsional strength to it and comes fitted with two M3 stop screws, one at each end, protecting from accidental drop off, from a non fully closed clamp.
As this rail will be used in vertical position these stop screws are not actually needed but can stay there with no problem.
Hejnar Photo G103 90 degree block
The Hejnar Photo G103 modified 90 degree bloc has two 1/4"-20 tapped holes on the vertical side and one 1/4" tapped hole on the horizontal (bottom) plain accompanied by an anti twist island. The dimensions and geometry of the block, except for vertical alignment are designed to give exceptional sturdiness to the whole structure, permitting the G10-80 rail to withstand greater load and torque than expected from a 1/2" rail, without any torsion or vibration.
Hejnar Photo G103 block on G10-80 rail
For better alignment the 90 degree block should be screwed on the rail first.
Hejnar Photo G103 block on G10-80 rail - screw detail
In order to fix the block with two screws on each side the block must be attached on the side of the Rail with the front 1/4"-20 tapped hole. At this point the screws should be fit but not fully tightened yet.
Hejnar Photo G103 block on G10-80 rail - screw full view
Full view of the Hejnar Photo G10-80 rail with the G103 90° block attached.

Adding the F69 Captive Quick Release clamp
The idea of the F69 captive clamp was based on the Hejnar Photo F012 mini clamp but instead of a center hole it has two small captive slots. This gives it the ability to be attached by two 1/4"-20 captive screws in order to serve as a support clamp or be attached by one captive screw at an offset position. Another world first from Chris Hejnar and Hejnar Photo! (For more details about the use of the F69 captive QR clamp you may see my article on A versatile Long Lens Support Bracket idea)

Hejnar Photo F69 QR clamp + screws & key
In order to attach the F69 clamp at the bottom of the vertical rail, we need two 1/4"-20 captive screws and the appropriate Allen hex key (E1).
Hejnar Photo F69 QR clamp screws inserted
The two screw need to be inserted in the captive slots first.
Hejnar Photo G103 block on G10-80 rail - fron holes detail
F69 clamp matches exactly the dimensions and the hole centers of the G10-80 + G103 combination.
Hejnar Photo F69 QR clamp attached on G103 block+G10-80 rail - closeup
Laying the rail on a flat surface, the clamp can be aligned and screwed in position.
Hejnar Photo F69 QR clamp attached on G103 block+G10-80 rail - back view
Then the two 1/4"-20 captive screws holding the 90 degree block should be tightened fully.
Hejnar Photo F69 QR clamp attached on G103 block+G10-80 rail - full view
Now we have a very sturdy and versatile rail, that can be attached on or detached from the horizontal rail at will, but can also be moved on top of the horizontal rail.

The Horizontal Rail

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II components grouped/numbered
The next component (B) is the G13-80 Rail, which is the improved version of G10-80 rail described above.
Due to its embedded Bubble spirit level is perfect for use as a horizontal rail.










Hejnar Photo G13-80 rail top
G13-80 is also 8" long by 1/2" thick, has three captive slots, two 1/4"-20 threaded holes between them and a front 1/4"-20 tapped hole. A laser engraved decimal scale from 0 to 15cm runs along one side on the top surface. The major differences between the G10-80 and G13-80 are the addition of a 12mm bubble spirit level and of two dowel pin holes aside the front hole for alignment purposes.
(For more details about the use of the front holes you may see my Ideas for a Long Lens Support Bracket).
Hejnar Photo G13-80 rail bottom
The bottom side of the G13-80 rail is almost identical with the G010-80 rail except for the shorter first captive slot in order to accommodate the bubble level. As all Hejnar rails is equipped with two M3 stop screws one at each end.

Preparing the Nodal slide rail

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II components grouped/numbered
Components (C1) E31 Nodal / Macro slide rail, (C2) pair of dowel pins, (C3) 1/4"-20 Flat screw and (C4) F012 Quick Release clamp, assembled together will become a very sturdy and versatile Nodal slide, 6.5" long and 1/2" thick.
A Nodal slide is necessary for determining the lens' entrance pupil (nodal point) at which it should be pivoted in order to avoid parallax error.
The 1/2" rail thickness adds a lot to the Panorama Head sturdiness and minimization of vibrations. Further, the laser engraved metric scale and the ability to relocate the quick release clamp make it more convenient to use with many camera/lens combinations.

Hejnar Photo G031 Nodal rail + F012 QR clamp + accessories
The two dowel pins fit on the side holes of the alignment groove at the bottom (or back side ) of the clamp. In this way the clamp will completely align with the rail and avoid any twist under any load.
Hejnar Photo G031 Nodal rail + F012 QR clamp assembled
The F012 clamp is secured with the provided 1/4"-20 screw on the rail with the aid of the appropriate Allen Hex Key (E1).

In my Hejnar Photo E31 Nodal/Macro Rail Review you may find full specification and details on the assembly of the nodal slide, as well as about the versatility it offers to mount the clamp in different angles to the rail.

Adding the Index Bars

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II components grouped/numbered
Set components (D) are the Hejnar Photo Index Bars which are equipped with two soft tipped screws.
This proves a convenient solution, avoiding stickers, for marking on rails for the lens in use. A reference when dismantling the head for transport and reassembling on the spot.
Each bar is very light and will only add 9 gr ( 0.3 oz) to the total weigh.





Hejnar Photo G13-80 rail + Index bar + key
Each bar can be fixed at the desired position on the top dovetail of the rails with the appropriate Allen hex key (E3).
Hejnar Photo G13-80 rail w/ Index bar installed
One Index Bar which in my opinion is necessary should go on the horizontal rail to mark the lens center so as it matches the panoramic head's pivoting point.
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal rail w/ Index bar installed
Another Index Bar which I consider necessary should go on the nodal slide rail to mark the lens nodal point for easy future reference.

Attaching the Panorama Clamps

Benro PC-0 & PC-1 Panorama Clamps
After the assembly of the vertical Panorama Rails and the preparation of the nodal slide, it is time to equip the Panorama Head with a vertical and a horizontal rotator.
As in my previous Panorama Head version, the Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp will be used as a vertical rotator and the Benro PC-1 Panorama Clamp as a horizontal rotator.

More about these clamps you may find in my Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama Clamps Review

Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp + vertical rail assembly
The exact position for attaching the Panorama clamp on the vertical rail has to be chosen according to the camera and lens combination to be used.
For better response to vibration the lower the better, keeping in mind to leave ample room for the nodal slide + clamp screw knob when it will turn vertical in order to shoot a zenith point.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp back + bushing
Since the bottom hole on the Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp has a 3/8"-16 thread, an 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 converter bushing is needed in order to use the 1/4"-20 captive screw on the rail.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp back w/ bushing installed
With the base dovetail plate removed from the Panorama clamp the converter is screwed and tightened with a big flat screw driver.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp mounted on vertical rail assembly - back
Then the PC-0 Panorama clamp can be screwed with one of the provided 1/4"-20 captive screws.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp mounted on vertical rail assembly - side top
Care should be taken in the alignment of the Benro PC-0 Panorama clamp, so the Φ mark coincides with the zero (0) mark and the long clamp knob placed downwards so as not to interfere with camera handling during panorama shooting.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp mounted on vertical rail assembly - back + 2nd screw
However, one more improvement is to add an M6 captive screw 1/2" long in one of the M6 threaded holes at the bottom of the Panorama clamp. This will facilitate very much in alignment, prevent the Panorama clamp from twisting under heavy loads and increase the strength of the whole structure.
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp + vertical rail assembly - back bottom
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp + vertical rail assembly - back top
Benro PC-0 Panorama Clamp + vertical rail assembly - top side
Our Vertical Panorama rail is now ready!



Mounting on the Horizontal Rail
The next obvious step is to mount and clamp the horizontal rail on the PC-1 Panorama Clamp which will play the role of the horizontal panning base.

Hejnar Photo G13-80 on Benro PC-1 panorama clamp - aligned
The rail should be inserted in the clamp and aligned to the predetermined index mark that corresponds to our camera/lens center.
More details for determining the lens center you may find in my article about Using a Multi Row Panorama Head.
Vertical rail assembly on Hejnar G13-80 rail end - top closeup
It's easy then to slide or mount from top the vertical rail structure on the horizontal rail.
Vertical rail assembly on Hejnar G13-80 rail end - bottom clamp closeup
From the bottom view you can see how the clamp fits on the top dovetail of the horizontal rail and is locked in place.
Vertical rail assembly on Hejnar G13-80 rail+PC-1 clamp - full view
Now the Panorama head structure is almost complete.


Attaching the Nodal Slide Rail

Vertical rail assembly on Hejnar G13-80 rail+PC-1 clamp + E031 Nodal rail - overview
Final part is to add the Nodal slide rail.
Vertical rail +PC-0 clamp alignment - detail
Before attaching the Nodal slide rail, the panning brake lock knob (shown on the top of the picture) should be tightened, immobilizing the rotator.
Vertical rail +PC-0 clamp w/ Nodal rail installed/aligned
Next the Nodal slide is positioned and locked to the predetermined Nodal point by the index bar.

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II assembled - full view
The whole structure of the Multi Row Panorama Head is now ready!
Total weigh 1,204 kg (2.65 lbs) ! Just 70gr (2.47oz) more than the previous version but with added sturdiness and versatility in operation. Needless to say, a lot more flexible and easier to transport.

Packing the Panorama head
One of the main reasons that made me seek of improvement on the previews version of the Panorama head, was the ability to dismantle the head easily and have it safely packed for storage and/or transport.

Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II parted for transport
In this Version the Panorama head can easily be taken apart in three pieces.
Vertical rail + Nodal rail assembly part1
The Nodal slide rail can remain on the PC-0 Panorama clamp in its "lowest" position and turned in a parallel position to the Vertical rail.
Vertical rail + Nodal rail assembly + backed G13-80 rail part2
The Horizontal rail when turned back to back to the Vertical rail and in such orientation so as the M3 screws on the back fit each other grooves...
Vertical rail + Nodal rail + G13-80 rail tied-up
... the rails can be attached and fixed together with a Velcro strap.
Vertical rail + Nodal rail + G13-80 rail tied-up + Matin XL bag
What remains is to find an appropriate bag, like the Matin XL neoprene pouch (Matin Neoprene Lens Pouch Set Review), which fits nicely the whole rail structure package...
Vertical rail + Nodal rail + G13-80 rail tied-up + PC-1 + Matin XL&S bags
...and a smaller bag, like the Matin S neoprene bag, to fit the PC-1 Panorama clamp.
Matin Neoprene drawstring bags XL & S
These soft drawstring bags are flexible and can fit easily in any big camera bag or back pack without fear of scratching other gear.

You may find more information and implementation instructions on Panorama Head Ver. II in the article Using Multi Row Panorama Head Ver II





Update: January 2012
The New Hejnar Photo G103 -90 degree- Block Update has been released.

Update: April 2012
As of April 2012 all the Hejnar PHOTO 1/2" rails have a minor but very useful update. Decimal scales engraved on both top sides, at full length.

I hope you found this article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: © 2011 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Current price of the Hejnar Photo Multi Row Panorama Rail Set is US $ 250.00 (+ shipping where applicable).

Hejnar SCV Multi Row Panorama Package 6 updated components
(Photo by courtesy of Hejnar PHOTO ©Chris Hejnar).
The S.C.V. Panorama Package with 6" nodal slide  as well as an S.C.V. Panorama Package with 8" nodal slide are available at the Hejnar PHOTO Store containing the latest version of all the products.
Note:
Check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon.





While the estimated cost of both the Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama clamps is US $ 230.00 shipping included from eBay and around EU 250.00 from local European Markets.
Matin Neoprene Pouches are also available from Amazon.com
Please consider using above link(s) to make a purchase at Amazon or eBay and help support this site.

Referenced Articles:
New Hejnar Photo G103 -90 degree- Block Update
Hejnar Photo Index Bars
Hejnar Photo E31 Nodal/Macro Rail Review
Hejnar Photo F012 Quick Release Clamp Review
Benro PC-0 and PC-1 Panorama Clamps Review
Matin Neoprene Lens Pouch Set Review

Relevant Articles:
Create a Multi Row Panorama Head,(Ver. I)
Using a Multi Row Panorama Head,(Ver. I)

5 comments :

  1. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! The effort and detail you provided is astonishing! Very easy to understand and informative. Can't believe there aren't more comments thanking you for your efforts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You 're welcome and thanks in return for your kind comment. I'm glad that you find it useful, it seems not everyone takes some time to write a few words though. :)

      Delete
  2. Hi, Thanks for the great guide.

    I'm just curious as to why you have the panorama head on which the whole rig is mounted, why not just have it mounted directly onto a standard clamp and then rotate the ball head?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for commenting.
      You might do that but not all ball heads have proper independent panning bases, while you'd need to level the tripod precisely which is more difficult.
      Please refer to the article Using Multi Row Panorama Head Ver II as mentioned above. There you'll see how a ball head is used to level the whole panorama rig.
      Alternatively the ball head may be replaced by a Leveling Base.

      Delete

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